Entropy

Chapter
Part of the The Frontiers Collection book series (FRONTCOLL)

Abstract

Entropy is the physical measure of disorder. According to the Second Law of Thermodynamics it grows whenever something happens in the world. This shows up in the room of a playing child, on the desk of a working scientist, and in all natural and technical energy conversion processes. The growth of entropy determines the Arrow of Time. It prevents a Perpetuum Mobile of the Second Kind, which would be a cyclically operating machine that does nothing other than perform physical work and cool down a heat reservoir, such as the environment. All attempts to construct such a machine and establish an energetic fool’s paradise have failed and will fail. Furthermore, entropy production, inevitably coupled to energy conversion, is associated with exergy destruction and the emission of heat and particles. Model calculations of the Heat Equivalents of Noxious Substances show how sufficiently large energy inputs into pollution control processes, such as denitrification, desulfurization, carbon dioxide capture and storage (CCS), and nuclear waste disposal, can convert the emissions of material pollutants into heat emissions. The latter, however, accelerate the approach to the Heat Barrier, beyond which climate changes are expected even without the Anthropogenic Greenhouse Effect (AGE). The physics, cause, and consequences of the AGE are explained.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for Theoretical Physics and AstrophysicsUniversity of WürzburgWürzburgGermany

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